Paraplegicwoman dive with sharks and paraglide from a cliff in video calling for immigration policy change
Juliana has been living in New Zealand the past 7 years, now she faces deportation because of her condition
Juliana Carvalho, 38, became paraplegic when she was 19 due to spinal cord inflammation caused by Lupus. Brazilian born,
she migrated to New Zealand with her family years ago. Now, she is about to be deported because of the immigration
policy health requirement. The disability activist appealed against deportation on humanitarian grounds and created a
petition calling for change as the policy is discriminatory, she says.
To help promote the petition she created a video where she dives with sharks and jump from a cliff, paragliding. The
idea is to challenge the status quo towards disability, showing that is possible to do many things, even when you cannot
walk. People that accompanied the filming were very excited and surprised, in a positive way, to see a person that uses
a wheelchair doing those things.
Juliana said, “I thought to myself… what can I do challenge people's perception about my impairment, so I get to stay in
NZ with my family and also have fun in the making? The answer came quickly: I will challenge my fears, diving with
sharks and I'm going to fly."
The petition gathered more than 20k signatures in less than 2 months. Juliana’s dream is to reach 1.1million signatures
as a matter of visibility to the disabled community - as this is the number of people with disabilities in NZ. That
means 1 of 4 people in the country.
Juliana is very hopeful of a favourable decision on her appeal. But the disability advocate said is prepared for a no:
“If it is the case, I will request for special directions from the Minister of Immigration, and if that is a no, I’m
going to chain myself to the Sky Tower and call the international media. If needed, I will be deported, but I’m not
going anywhere without resisting. I’m taking a stand here: this is not just about me, but all people with disabilities
that had enough of being excluded from society. People with disabilities should have the same opportunities as everyone
else.” she concludes.
To check out her video and sign her petition visit Change.org. Will you help her get to 1.1million signatures?
Read Juliana’s open letter to the Minister of Immigration NZ: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1=12275741
Watch her interview on TV 1 news: